4th-6th Grade - Willie's Well In A Cup
"Well-in-a-Cup" is a fun and educational hands on activity to help children understand where our drinking water comes from and how vulnerable it is to availability and pollutants. The disadvantage groundwater has to being protected by the public is that as long as water is flowing from the "tap" it is not perceived as an environmental problem. This demonstration will help children to visualize what can and will happen to our drinking water source if it is not protected.
The demonstration may be done with 1 to 30 children. Depending on how many supplies are on hand; usually a group between 8 and 30 will get into groups of four.
Approximately 30 minutes (well construction and discussion) 20 minutes (videos)
“Well-in-a-Cup” is a fun and educational hands on activity to help children understand how water is stored underground. Demonstrating groundwater pumping and recharge will show how vulnerable drinking water is to availability and pollution.
Students will learn that water is a limited and threatened resource. They will learn ways to conserve and help prevent water pollution.
One 10 ounce clear, flexible plastic cup (Solo TP10)
Construct, Recharge, and Discharge
Demonstrating nitrate contamination (Groundwater quality)
The disadvantage groundwater has to being protected by the public is that as long as water is flowing from the “tap” it is not perceived as an environmental problem. This demonstration will help children to visualize what can and will happen to our drinking water source if it is not protected.
Earth has less than 1% of its water available for drinking water. This includes lakes, streams, rivers and aquifers, making water a limited resource. All living things need water and people need water for non-living things just to keep up with growth and technology. Wells are drilled to pump water from the aquifer. By demonstrating continuous pumpage from these wells children can visualize how rapidly the aquifer is being depleted. Water conservation is a necessary practice to minimize waste and allow for water sources to recharge by means of the “Hydrological Cycle”, nature’s way of recycling water. (Explain the cycle).
There are many sources of pollutants that can cause groundwater contamination. Whether industrial, agricultural or domestic use of chemicals there is a danger of these chemicals penetrating the ground surface and leaching into our groundwater source.
Careful reading of instructions on the chemical labels will instruct the user of proper usage and disposal of chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.
Detecting and treating groundwater contamination is very costly. People get ill, or die, wildlife suffers and the availability of water is diminished. The impact can be devastating.
Additional Teaching Tools
GroundwaterAdventure and Saving Water videos by Water Environment Federation are used and total approximately 20 minutes.